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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

International business (IB) is not the bed of roses

As the world grows smaller because of increasingly efficient global communications and multinational corporations, chances are good that your business will take you outside your home country. All types of businessman and consultants are all finding that international business can provide an avenue for growing their business. Sometimes a customer's international operations will require your services in other countries. Even if you never plan on opening an office outside your national borders, you may find that your best customer has. Your customer may want to count on your involvement in equipping his or her international installations. In any of those scenarios, you should know what you're getting into before jumping in.
Most of Nepalese are at more of a disadvantage in being prepared than their international neighbors. For reasons having to do with geography (as well as perhaps an historical proclivity toward isolationism), international travel and multilingual and multicultural awareness do not come naturally to Nepalese, unlike citizens of many other continents. But during the past several decades, for many countries citizen’s international business has become a matter of survival in many industries.

Challenges doing IB
High-profile design consultants and businessman are also increasingly involved in international work. Most agree that having an international presence is easier if offices are run by local nationals. That obviously helps with issues such as language, cultural differences, and local government connections. Sometimes the biggest challenge in doing international business simply understands that people in different cultures conduct business differently. Decision making and negotiations are conducted in ways that may be totally foreign to a Nepalese -based contractor or consultant. First of all, you learn to be accommodating and you also need to understand cultural differences, work process, work ethic — all of these are key elements if you intend to operate on an international basis. You have to be hypersensitive to all of these issues.” In some cultures, business body language can differ to the extent that miscommunication occurs, even when negotiating in the same language. For example, in some Asian cultures, head shaking from side to side accompanied by verbal agreement can be interpreted as conflicting messages to a Western businessperson, when that is not the message at all. Being aware of subtle aspects such as differences in international body language is one example why it is important to consider some of the less obvious challenges. Most of the costs and risks result from barriers created by distance. By distance I don't mean only geographic separation, though that is important. Distance also has cultural, administrative, or political and economic dimensions that can make foreign markets considerably more or less attractive. His CAGE Distance Framework (“Distance Still Matters,” Harvard Business Review, September 2001) for analysis of the impact of distance on the viability of international business considers many factors that don't usually occur to a novice global businessperson. These factors are applicable whether you are considering opening a branch office or providing installation services in another country
Tips for doing Successful International Business
Some management Guru (consultant) has recommended following tips for making easier of doing   international business:
1. Lose your tunnel vision. Forget the misconception that conditions around the world are just as they are in the country — or should be. They aren't, and they never will be. The sooner you embrace that essential truth, the faster you'll latch on to other salient issues for doing business overseas.
2. Get to know the culture. Someone once said that it's an incredible faux pas to offer a Japanese executive your business card without first turning it around so that he or she can read it right away. That detail illustrates the importance of understanding the traditions and nuances of the cultures with which you wish to do business. Check out Web sites that discuss various cultures; if possible, talk with businesspeople from foreign countries to gain a sense of appropriate business practices. Is a handshake sufficient to close a deal? Is bribery an accepted element of business leverage? “We think the ways of Nepal are the ways of the world, and they're simply not.”
3. One size does not fit all. Granted, barriers are breaking down worldwide, but that still doesn't mean that one product will work in every situation. Expensive, proprietary software likely will not command the attention of a developing third-world nation that it would in Western Europe. Part of getting to know a country's traditions and culture understands interest and demand. That, in turn, can help better direct marketing and other sales efforts.
4. What price is right? Likewise, it's essential to understand what pricing structure is going to be attractive — but nonetheless profitable for you — in various parts of the world. Again, less developed nations may not be suitable if a product or service is too expensive. By the same token, more affluent cultures may be able to obtain like products less expensively than you can offer. This can really be an overwhelming task, one that often happens through trial and error. It's usually a good idea to start prices a little bit high and then come down if need be the right way.
5. How are you going to ship your product and at what cost? Depending on where you want your wares to go, it's essential to gain a realistic grasp of prospective shipping costs (likely more than you think). Equally important is establishing who's going to pay that bill. If you're setting up an international network, make certain you negotiate whether you or your customers will be covering shipping (or, by contrast, if you can share costs). For example The European Union has that Value Added Tax that always adds to the cost of goods. You should also pay attention to the culture of the country in which you're doing business. That may dictate who should pay shipping.
6. How will you get paid? Credit card use is far less common in Nepal then internationally. Give just consideration how you're going to set up a reliable payment structure. Look into wire transfer systems or, if you're doing business on the Internet, online payment programs (it's a way of getting what's owed you, and many also offer currency exchange features).
7. Consider language differences. If you operate a small business on an international scale, not everyone who stops by your Web site is going to speak English. That means another salient issue is making sure your site content also offers services in a sufficient number of languages. On top of that, recognize that the time will come that an overseas customer, like his or her Nepalese counterpart, will want to speak with a living customer rep. So don't overlook staffing, or having access to, bilingual customer-service personnel.
8. Pay attention to politics. Lastly, never overlook the political environment — or even worse, the threat of terrorism — in areas where you hope to do business. That's particularly true if you're planning on sitting a warehouse or some other facility overseas. Make certain you gauge the economic and social stability of prospective markets, not merely to protect any resources that happen to be located there but also to ensure that any goods shipped will, in fact, arrive at their intended destination.
Doing IB is not easy job. We need to better prepare to over come all the difficulties as we have mentioned in above. We have keeping mind the physical and societal factors of that country like political and legal practices, cultural factors, economic forces, geographical influences. And competitive factors are also equally important. Like major advantages in price, marketing, innovation or other factors, number and comparative capabilities of competitors and competitive differences by country. As we know there has growth in globalization in recent decades due to many factors mostly: Technology is expanding, especially in transportation and communications. Governments are removing international business restrictions. Institutions provide services to ease the conduct of international business. Consumers know about want foreign goods and services.
Competition has become more global. Political relationships have improved among some major economic powers. Countries cooperate more on transnational issues and Cross-national cooperation and agreements. This is very reasons we need be better prepared and educated to take step in the international Business and we easily can realized the doing IB is not the bed of roses. There are many thons around it, we should prepared and efficient to overcome all difficulties.

Monday, January 31, 2011


The training needs assessment is a critical activity for the training and development function. Whether you are a human resource generalist or a specialist, you should be adept at performing a training needs assessment. This paper will begin with an overview of the training and development function and how the needs assessment fits into this process, followed by an in-depth look at the core concepts and steps involved in conducting a training needs assessment.
Designing a training and development program involves a sequence of steps that can be grouped into five phases: needs assessment, instructional objectives, design, implementation and evaluation. To be effective and efficient, all training programs must start with a needs assessment. Long before any actual training occurs, the training manager must determine the who, what, when, where, why and how of training. To do this, the training manager must analyze as much information as possible about the following:
• Organization and its goals and objectives.
• Jobs and related tasks that need to be learned.
• Competencies and skills that are need to perform the job.
• Individuals who are to be trained.

Overview of Training and Development
The first step in designing a training and development program is to conduct a needs assessment. The assessment begins with a "need" which can be identified in several ways but is generally described as a gap between what is currently in place and what is needed, now and in the future. Gaps can include discrepancies/differences between:
• What the organization expects to happen and what actually happens.
• Current and desired job performance.
• Existing and desired competencies and skills.

A needs assessment can also be used to assist with:
• Competencies and performance of work teams.

• Problem solving or productivity issues.
• The need to prepare for and respond to future changes in the organization or job duties.

The results of the needs assessment allows the training manager to set the training objectives by answering two very basic questions: who, if anyone, needs training and what training is needed. Sometimes training is not the solution. Some performance gaps can be reduced or eliminated through other management solutions such as communicating expectations, providing a supportive work environment, arranging consequences, removing obstacles and checking job fit.
Once the needs assessment is completed and training objectives are clearly identified, the design phase of the training and development process is initiated:
• Select the internal or external person or resource to design and develop the training.
• Select and design the program content.
• Select the techniques used to facilitate learning (lecture, role play, simulation, etc.).
• Select the appropriate setting (on the job, classroom, etc.).
• Select the materials to be used in delivering the training (work books, videos, etc.).
• Identify and train instructors (if internal).

After completing the design phase, the training is ready for implementation:
• Schedule classes, facilities and participants.
• Schedule instructors to teach.
• Prepare materials and deliver them to scheduled locations.
• Conduct the training.

The final phase in the training and development program is evaluation of the program to determine whether the training objectives were met. The evaluation process includes determining participant reaction to the training program, how much participants learned and how well the participants transfer the training back on the job. The information gathered from the training evaluation is then included in the next cycle of training needs assessment. It is important to note that the training needs assessment, training objectives, design, implementation and evaluation process is a continual process for the organization.

Needs Assessment
There are three levels of needs assessment: organizational analysis, task analysis and individual analysis.
Organizational analysis looks at the effectiveness of the organization and determines where training is needed and under what conditions it will be conducted.
The organizational analysis should identify:
• Environmental impacts (new laws such as ADA, FMLA, OSHA, etc.).
• State of the economy and the impact on operating costs.
• Changing work force demographics and the need to address cultural or language barriers.
• Changing technology and automation.
• Increasing global/world market places.
• Political trends such as sexual harassment and workplace violence.
• Organizational goals (how effective is the organization in meetings its goals), resources available (money, facilities; materials on hand and current, available expertise within the organization).
• Climate and support for training (top management support, employee willingness to participate, responsibility for outcomes).

The information needed to conduct an organizational analysis can be obtained from a variety of sources including:
• Organizational goals and objectives, mission statements, strategic plans.
• Staffing inventory, succession planning, long and short term staffing needs.
• Skills inventory: both currently available and short and long term needs, organizational climate indices: labor/management relationships, grievances, turnover rates, absenteeism, suggestions, productivity, accidents, short term sickness, observations of employee behavior, attitude surveys, customer complaints.
• Analysis of efficiency indices: costs of labor, costs of materials, quality of products, equipment utilization, production rates, costs of distribution, waste, down time, late deliveries, repairs.
• Changes in equipment, technology or automation.
• Annual report.
• Plans for reorganization or job restructuring.
• Audit exceptions; reward systems.
• Planning systems.
• Delegation and control systems.
• Employee attitudes and satisfaction.

Task analysis provides data about a job or a group of jobs and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities needed to achieve optimum performance.
There are a variety of sources for collecting data for a task analysis:
• Job description-- A narrative statement of the major activities involved in performing the job and the conditions under which these activities are performed. If an accurate job description is not available or is out of date, one should be prepared using job analysis techniques.
• KSA analysis-- A more detailed list of specified tasks for each job including Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes and Abilities required of incumbents.
• Performance standards-- Objectives of the tasks of the job and the standards by which they will be judged. This is needed to identify performance discrepancies.
• Observe the job/sample the work.
• Perform the job.
• Job inventory questionnaire-- Evaluate tasks in terms of importance and time spent performing.
• Review literature about the job-- Research the "best practices" from other companies, review professional journals.
• Ask questions about the job-- Of the incumbents, of the supervisor, of upper management.
• Analysis of operating problems-- Down time, waste, repairs, late deliveries, quality control.

Individual analysis analyzes how well the individual employee is doing the job and determines which employees need training and what kind.
Sources of information available for a individual analysis include:
• Performance evaluation -- Identifies weaknesses and areas of improvement.
• Performance problems -- Productivity, absenteeism or tardiness, accidents, grievances, waste, product quality, down time, repairs, equipment utilization, customer complaints.
• Observation -- Observe both behavior and the results of the behavior.
• Work samples -- Observe products generated.
• Interviews -- Talk to manager, supervisor and employee. Ask employee about what he/she believes he/she needs to learn.
• Questionnaires -- Written form of the interview, tests, must measure job-related qualities such as job knowledge and skills.
• Attitude surveys -- Measures morale, motivation, satisfaction.
• Checklists or training progress charts -- Up-to-date listing of current skills.

Results of the Needs Assessment
Assuming that the needs assessment identifies more than one training need, the training manager, working with management, prioritizes the training based on the urgency of the need (timeliness), the extent of the need (how many employees need to be trained) and the resources available. Based on this information, the training manager can develop the instructional objectives for the training and development program.
All three levels of needs analysis are interrelated and the data collected from each level is critical to a thorough and effective needs assessment.

The purpose of a training needs assessment is to identify performance requirements or needs within an organization in order to help direct resources to the areas of greatest need, those that closely relate to fulfilling the organizational goals and objectives, improving productivity and providing quality products and services.
The needs assessment is the first step in the establishment of a training and development Program. It is used as the foundation for determining instructional objectives, the selection and design of instructional programs, the implementation of the programs and the evaluation of the training provided. These processes form a continuous cycle which always begins with a needs assessment.

A Case Study of Five Classic Hardball Strategies

Any strategy that provides a decisive competitive advantage is a hardball strategy. Although there are countless ways to play hardball however, there are five classic hardball strategies that have proved, over the decades, to be particularly effective in generating competitive advantage.
Unleash massive and overwhelming force.
Hardball players prefer the indirect attack; however, sometimes to overcome their competitors, they launch a full frontal assault. But in such a situation, it must be noted that this strategy should not be adopted until the company is ready to put all its energy behind it. The company must also be sure that the competitive advantage it believes it has is actually available for action. HP, after acquiring Compaq, tried to eat into Dell's share by using its direct to consumer channel, but Dell, aware of the loses that HP was incurring on its PC business, started using its profits from its PC business to fund Dell's low cost printer business in order to hit back at HP as printer business is the most profitable segment of the company.
Threaten your competitor's profit sanctuaries.
Profit sanctuaries are the parts of a business where a company makes the most money. The hardball player can influence a competitor's behavior and gain competitive advantage by attacking a competitor's profit sanctuaries.
However, this strategy is risky; it takes the player deep into the caution zone. Also, the competitor is likely to retaliate by attacking your profit sanctuaries. Classic example here would be that of Toyota, how it overran the profit sanctuaries of GM, Ford and Chrysler - light trucks and SUVs, where they earned between $10 and $15 thousand dollars per vehicle.
Take it and make it your own.
Often companies like to think that their bright ideas are sacred however, hardball players are willing to take any good idea they see (any one that isn't restrained by a patent or other legal protection) and use it to create competitive advantage for themselves. This isn't restricted to borrowing from competitors. Ideas can be picked from one geographic market and transplanted to another. Ideas can also transplant between industries. But the "making it your own" part is more important than "taking it." so that it's not just a me-too copy. An example in Indian context would be that of Priyagold biscuits who are matching almost the entire range of biscuits being offered by Britannia but at a lower price.
Entice your competitor into retreat.
Sometimes, based upon a superior understanding of business and industry, the hardball players can take actions that confuse their competitors and entice them to behave in ways that they believe will be beneficial to them but that actually will weaken them. This opportunity is contingent on the existence of certain customers that are not worth having because they are high cost to serve. These customers may be willing to pay a premium for the concerned offering, but it usually is not enough to be truly worth the effort. These are the customers that the hardball players want their competitors to have.
Enticing your competitors toward business that drives up their costs is one of the most complex strategies of hardball competition. For example, you can set prices so your competitors respond by seeking business that they think will be profitable for them, but that will, in fact, drive up their costs and depress their profits. This is a risky, bet-the-company strategy. It works best in complex businesses where costs may be misallocated.
Deceive the competition.
This strategy revolves around making the competitor to set up or move in a way that puts him off balance and reduces his ability to meet attack. The high technology industry has employed fakes for years - for example - to attract customers and to distract competitors a software company may announce software which isn't ready for prime time. However, this has to be used with caution as this tactic deceives not only the competition but also the investors.
These strategies in Hardball are classics, but "classic" does not mean "static". The game of hardball is dynamic and always evolving. New barriers to achieving competitive advantage emerge, several issues will affect the way hardball must be played in the future and will change the rules for players who wish to be winners, especially on the global field.
To ensure that while playing hard the companies do not ignore business ethics, it is important that every move must be evaluated in the light of the following questions: -
• Will the proposed action break any laws?
• Will the proposed action be bad for the customer?
• Will competitors be directly hurt by an action?
• Will an action hit a nerve with a special interest group in a way that might damage the company?
• Will the action harm the industry or society?
If the answer to any of the questions is "yes", it means the company has ventured too far into the caution zone. The leader must immediately take corrective action.
Hardball companies are great for business. They cleanse markets. They motivate their people to do their best and make them excited about what they do. They set customers' expectations high and meet them. And hardball executives set good examples for other leaders, executives, and managers. Low-cost consumer commodities, bundled financial services, low-cost, no-frills airfares, are some of the byproducts of companies' successful hardball strategies.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Leadership Styles of Women and Men

As women increasingly enter leadership roles that traditionally were occupied mainly by men, the possibility that the leadership styles of women and men differ continues to attract attention. The focus of these debates on sameness versus difference can obscure the array of causal factors that can produce differences or similarities. Adopting the perspective of social role theory, we offer a framework that encompasses many of the complexities of the empirical literature on the
Leadership styles of women and men. Supplementing Eagly and Johnson’s (1990) review of the interpersonally oriented, task-oriented, autocratic, and democratic styles of women and men, we present new data concerning the transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles.

The Leadership Styles of Women and Men Whether men and women behave differently in leadership roles is a much-debated question. Although there is general agreement that women face more barriers to becoming leaders
Than men do, especially for leader roles that are male-dominated, there is much less agreement about the behavior of women and men once they attain such roles. This issue is usually discussed in terms of leadership styles, when style is understood as relatively stable patterns of behavior that are manifested by leaders. Differences in styles can be Consequential because they are one factor that may affect people’s views about whether women should become leaders and advance to higher positions in organizational hierarchies. To approach this issue, we first analyze traditional thinking about the leadership styles of women and men. Then we present our own theoretical framework for understanding these issues and examine and interpret relevant research findings.

Leadership Styles of Women and Men Theoretical Rationale for Sex Differences and Similarities in Leadership Style Analysis of the situation that women and men face as leaders provide a rationale for expecting differences and similarities. From the perspective of social role theory of sex differences and similarities, this analysis begins with the Principle that leadership roles, like other organizational roles, are but one influence on leaders’ behavior. In addition, leaders elicit expectancies based on people’s categorization of them as male and female. These expectancies constitute gender roles, which are the shared beliefs that apply to Individuals on the basis of their socially identified sex. These roles are assumed to follow from perceivers’ observations of men and women as concentrated in different social roles in the family and paid employment.

Communal characteristics, which are ascribed more strongly to women than men, describe primarily a concern with the welfare of other people–for example, affectionate, helpful, kind, sympathetic, interpersonally sensitive, nurturing, and gentle. In employment settings, communal behaviors might include speaking tentatively, not drawing attention to oneself, accepting others’
Direction, supporting and soothing others, and contributing to the solution of relational and Leadership Styles of Women and Men interpersonal problems.

Simultaneous Occupancy of Gender Role and Leader Role

Managers and other leaders occupy roles defined by their specific position in a hierarchy but also simultaneously function under the constraints of their gender roles. Although it would be consistent with a structural interpretation of organizational behavior to predict that men and women who occupy the same leadership role would behave very similarly, gender roles ordinarily continue to exert some influence, with the result that female and male occupants and potential occupants of the same organizational role may behave somewhat differently. Consistent with this reasoning, many argued that gender roles spill over to organizations, and maintained that gender provides an “implicit, background identity” in the workplace.

Despite the likely influence of gender roles on leaders’ behavior, formal leadership (or managerial) roles should be of primary importance in organizational settings because these roles lend their occupants legitimate authority and are regulated by relatively clear rules about appropriate behavior. This idea that the influence of gender roles can be diminished or even eliminated by other roles was foreshadowed by experimental demonstrations of the lessening or disappearance of many gender-stereotypic sex differences in laboratory settings when participants received information that competed with gender-based expectations. In contrast, research in natural settings suggests that, although some gender-stereotypic differences erode under the influence of organizational roles, other Differences do not. Particularly informative is a field study that examined the simultaneous influence of gender roles and organizational roles. These Leadership Styles of Women and Men Study used an experience-sampling method by which participants monitored their interpersonal behavior in a variety of work settings for 20 days. In general, agentic behavior was controlled by the relative status of the interaction partners, with participants behaving most agentically with a supervisee and least agentically with a boss. However, communal behaviors were influenced by the sex of participants, regardless of participants’ status, with women behaving more communally than men, especially in interactions with other women.

Congruence of Leader Roles and Gender Roles

Female leaders’ efforts to accommodate their behavior to the sometimes conflicting demands of the female gender role and their leader role can foster leadership styles that differ from those of men. Gender roles thus have different implications for the behavior of female and male leaders, not only because the female and male roles have different content, but also because there is often inconsistency between the predominantly communal qualities that perceiver’s associate with women and the predominantly agentic qualities that they believe are required to succeed as a leader. People thus tend to have similar beliefs about leaders and men but dissimilar beliefs about leaders and women, as demonstrated. Nonetheless, the degree Leadership Styles of Women and Men of perceived incongruity between a leader role and the female gender role would depend on many factors, including the exact definition of the leader role, the activation of the female gender role in a particular situation, and individuals’ personal approval of traditional definitions of gender roles.

As argued, perceived incongruity between the female gender role and typical leader roles tends to create prejudice toward female leaders and potential leaders that takes two forms: (a) less favorable evaluation of women’s (than men’s) potential for leadership Because leadership ability is more stereotypic of men than women and (b) less favorable evaluation of the actual leadership behavior of women than men because agentic behavior is perceived as less desirable in women than men. The first type of prejudice stems from the descriptive norms of gender roles–that is, the activation of descriptive beliefs about women’s characteristics and the consequent ascription of female-stereotypic qualities to them, which are unlike the qualities expected and desired in leaders. The second type of prejudice stems from the injunctive (or prescriptive) norms of gender roles–that is, the activation of beliefs about how women ought to behave. If female leaders violate these prescriptive beliefs by fulfilling the agentic requirements of leader roles and failing to exhibit the communal, supportive behaviors that are preferred in women, they can be negatively evaluated for these violations, even while they may also receive some positive evaluation for their fulfillment of the leader role.

In summary, the social role argument that leadership roles constrain behavior so that sex differences are minimal among occupants of the same leadership role must be tempered by several more complex considerations. Not only may gender roles spill over to organizational settings, but also leaders’ gender identities may constrain their behaviors in a direction consistent with their own gender role. Also, the female gender role is more likely to be incongruent with leader roles than the male gender role is, producing a greater potential for prejudice against female leaders.  Such prejudice could produce negative sanctions that affect leaders’ behavior.